Author Archives: Nahma

About Nahma

I'm a 30-something mother of the happiest 11 month old in the world (according to my rose-coloured mama goggles); I hold a health science degree; and I'm a vegetarian-green-hippie-animal-lover blogging about conscious family living.

Maia {Birth Story}

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The Pursuit of Happiness

In the information age I am often confronted by a lack of information and awareness in the general public about certain issues – particularly when it comes to health. For most people our quest in life is similar, though our paths are different. The pursuit of happiness – is that not what we all want?

What we are as human beings is a question for philosophers across the ages in history. What is clear is that we have a physical body, we have a mind, and we feel. We may develop complex hypotheses and theories on the interplay of these three core aspects of being (I won’t say “human being” here as we share these to greater and lesser extents with other animals) and the question of soul, and we may agree or disagree. The mistake I think we make is when we conceptualise these as components of being rather than as one and complete.

The reason I make this point is that in the pursuit of happiness – the quest we are all embarking on – we must begin with that which nourishes us as one and complete. We have to start with our health. I can’t imagine any type of lifestyle – from the excessively wealthy partier to a remote Tibetan monk – that can be truly happy and truly fulfilled without good health.

Health is the ground work, the soil for everything. How can one think healthy thoughts without having the foundations and presence of the right molecules – hormones, neurotransmitters, and nutrients to sustain those healthy thoughts? How can you have the ability to feel happy and feel wealthy if you do not have the physical ability to manufacture the right molecules and enzymes needed to create and sustain those emotions?

Working yourself to exhaustion in a well-paying unsatisfying job will not bring you happiness. How can it? Money gets you stuff. That’s it. Sure, life is easier with it, and there are people in the world who do need more of it, but happiness is more than stuff.

So often too our quests for health are misguided. We think we’ll be happier or healthier with a slimmer, or tighter, or firmer body. But the outward appearance of our bodies isn’t health. Nor is conforming to societal standards or what is the “right” way to look or be. If the goal is your outward appearance, it won’t bring you happiness.

The question we need to ask ourselves more is: what will make me healthier? This is the knowledge we need to seek, this is the information we need to acquire on our paths to happiness.

 

Nahmaste.

 

Celebrating Small Achievements

Today I wanted to write. I wanted to create and inspire and indulge in that feeling that comes with it – that feeling I used to have all the time when I’d create all the time. That feeling that I’ve somehow lost along the way.

I wanted to clean the house. I wanted to leave the house.

But all I got was pie.

True – not such a bad accomplishment! Afterall… I have pie! It is just that it’s been one of those days, built with good intentions of entirely realistic tasks of which I’ve done none. I started cooking tonight’s meal at 10:30 am. I’ve just finished and it’s now 4:01 pm. Interruptions, lunch, lost implements, meeting the needs of Little Star, battling the glorious tension headache which threatens to overwhelm owing entirely to not enough yoga… and there you go. All I have is pie.

So I am celebrating that – an achievement. Go me!

I made Sweet Potato, Kale and Broccoli Pie with Caramelised Onions from Vegie Head. What I love about this recipe, apart from the abundance of nourishment and whole food goodness, is the wonderful celebration of vegetables. I often get so caught up in creating flavours with herbs, spices, garlic, chilli (not that there’s anything wrong with those lovely ingredients) that I overlook the flavours of the vegetables themselves. This pie does just the opposite, simply and gloriously.

Packed full of nutrients and antioxidants!

Packed full of nutrients and antioxidants!

In the world of food it is easy to get caught up in set ideas. This is how you make a meal: pick your meat, pick your vegies and cook. Vegetarianism pushed me to expand my mind and my creativity. Now, thanks to this pie, I am pushed to see vegetables themselves in a new light too.

Nahmaste.

Dear Internet: Be safe, Be Meaningful.

The internet in all its worldly glory and infinite ability to disseminate information – the likes of which we have never before seen in the history of humanity – can be a venomous serpent. It’s forked tongue flickers and strikes; its opinionated fangs full of hate, hubris and vitriol. I feel the poisonous spite pierce my skin and heart and I’m left diminished, baulking, ashamed at what humanity appears to have become.

New ideas are persecuted.

Old ideas are ridiculed.

The serpent has long been used both as a symbol of knowledge and a symbol of danger or harm. It is apt to conjure this image in representation of the internet - or rather the behaviour of some of its users.

The serpent has long been used both as a symbol of knowledge and a symbol of danger or harm. It is apt to conjure this image in representation of the internet – or rather the behaviour of some of its users.

Black-Mamba

Human beings are inherently social creatures. We seek out socialisation, to congregate, to simply be with other beings of similar sentience. In this world of urban and suburban isolation where the neighbours are physically close and emotionally distant, unapproachable, and we only move in circles we’ve always moved in, more and more we retreat to online spaces seeking refuge from loneliness – to have our innate needs for socialisation met.

Yet in the anonymity and partial anonymity the internet offers we are never really known. We yearn to be accepted and supported, for someone to agree with us, to indulge our ego or perhaps to express some poorly informed opinion we are seduced into feeling righteous about. The anonymity protects us. We don’t have to be real, we don’t have to get close.

And therein lies the issue.

This guise of partial anonymity comes with an unfortunate freedom from conscience and freedom from consequence.  Just as I am less real online, so too are others to me. I need not be concerned with what may be socially detrimental to another, nor deliver my words mindfully with thoughtful respect.

Suddenly I’m more opinionated. I have a confidence of opinion and a numbness of connection. I cannot feel the direction of a conversation, nor the meaning behind the words, nor the person speaking. I need not wait my turn to pipe up or enter a conversation – all I have to do is type.

Yet I am not this emotionless, thoughtless, disconnected being. I am a person. I have heart, and soulful thought and meaning in my life. I am a whole person. My whole life in its full glorious spectrum of its many experiences has led me to this very point. And who are others to judge?

But judge they do. And further judgements I pass, fuelled by the hurt of criticism – the need of the human being to feel right, to be righteous, to build themselves high by belittling those others. So what do I do? I type at those others. I tell them what I think. I build within my language a tone of sarcasm, I slap you with a statistic, and beat you with words and logic. I armour myself with “likes” and approval of those who already agree – or at least think they do.

To what end? To insult and demean the very person whose opinions I hope to influence? To have you abhor the facts I present you with or for you to resent a particular line of logic? Some may feel the sting and bite of words and choose to rise above them, and to consider the facts within the vitriol. This is unlikely. Most will return to the safety of their self-managed newsfeeds, search for anything which validates their own opinion and say “see, I knew I was right”.

Or perhaps they’ll type. They’ll type about why I’m wrong, and why they’re right. A self-perpetuating cycle devoid of meaning.

That is not my promise here.

My promise here is to see you, Reader, in your humanness. To consider the person behind the other screen. Whilst our choices may differ and our views be opposed, it is not you I question. It is not you I argue.

What I do question are systems. What I do debate are facts and their source. What I do challenge is logic, the lines which connect the dots. Because when the lines connect different dots a different picture emerges.

By all means question my reasoning, ask about my facts, seek to understand first (I’ll do the same) but do not persecute me.

Because safe places are necessary. Because persecution and vitriol and slander just get in the way. They get in the way of ideas, of fruitful, necessary debate.

We are running out of food on this planet. Many, many don’t have enough to eat. Or clean water. Or money for school shoes. The Earth is dying, her resources are being sucked dry. Our climate is changing. Children are being abused. Inequity in all its forms is still a cultural stain. Our health is failing. There is war. And there are many, many more problems which need solutions now.

So I implore you. Tread with care on the internet. Create safe places wherever you go. And talk about things which matter.

Nahmaste.

Please Pass Me the Nasunin?

Foodie lesson of the week: whole baby eggplant (aubergine) slow cooked in a spicy, tomatoey sauce equals gooey, squishy, yummy, warm, glorious goodness… and a whole lot of nasunin.

Nasunin?

Yep, nasunin. Nasunin behaves as an antioxidant – preventing oxidative damage by free radicals. In particular nasunin is known to protect the lipids which form the membranes of brain cells. In short, eggplant is good for your brain!

Nasunin is generally found in the skin of the eggplant, so unfortunately one of my favourite ways of eating eggplant – baba ganoush, which requires removal of the skin – is unlikely to contain much nasunin at all. Oh well, I’ll just have to settle for the abundance of dietary fibre, copper, manganese, B6, potassium, folate and vitamin K!

… if only I was better at growing them.

My happiest aubergine plant this season. I hope it does something soon!

My happiest aubergine plant this season. I hope it does something soon!

What are your favourite eggplanty dishes?

Nahmaste.

A Suburban Night

I’m up and it’s dark

And right outside

A streetlamp shines

And the Night confides

Tales of rest

Of dreams and wonder

Of snores and pillows

But me, I ponder

 

My sweet child

Awake in the dark

What’s upset you?

A dream, a whisper,

A lark?

 

Are you hungry?

Or are you sad?

Or did you ‘waken

Feeling bad?

 

I am here,

You’re in my arms

You call me to you

Not without charms;

 

You find my breast

My warm embrace.

The streetlamp shines

Off your lovely face.

 

At peace once more

For the comfort you seek

Is right here now

Right next to your cheek.

 

I’ll always be here

To give that to you

Always and again

‘slong as you need to.

 

You’ll want for naught

Surrounded with love

I am here for you

My small Little Dove.

Written at approximately 10 weeks old, just past midnight, in our old home in suburban Melbourne.

Nahmaste.

Blueberry and Chia Rockmelon Bowl

It’s the strangest thing. For me, yoga and rockmelon just go together. After an uplifting morning sesh I’m just drawn to it. I seek it out on those mornings – it is an extension of the practice I have just emerged myself in, an extension of that bodily nourishment.

Perhaps it is all that potassium I’m seeking after I’ve been sweating it out. Perhaps it is the refreshment and hydration it offers. I’m not sure, but rating awesomely low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) I just know it is a winner at breakfast time providing long lasting energy to get through my morning.

To me breakfast is like any other meal of the day – another opportunity to intake a variety of nutrients and to experience a wealth of flavours. So why eat the same breakfast day in day out? Whilst one may get bored of eating the same lunch every day, so rarely do we stop to think hmm, maybe I could swap this morning’s bowl of cornflakes for something else….

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This morning I couldn’t quite shy away from a rockmelon bowl for breakfast. Scoop out the seeds, add a little yoghurt, blueberries (I must eat all I can whilst they are in season!) and the mandatory sprinkling of chia and… viola! A quick, easy, delicious and nutritious morning meal!

Nahmaste.